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Gun Violence Hearing

Series/Special. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre on combating gun violence. New.

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Us 17, America 15, Tucson 11, Chicago 10, Kelly 7, Mr. Lapierre 6, Grassley 6, Arizona 6, U.s. 5, Virginia Tech 5, Wisconsin 4, Richmond 4, Newtown 4, Illinois 4, Cdc 3, Obama 3, Jared Loughner 3, Johnson 3, Colorado 3, Felon 3,
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  CSPAN    Gun Violence Hearing    Series/Special. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and  
   NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre on combating gun violence. New.  

    February 3, 2013
    11:05 - 1:05pm EST  

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susan one begins president's 9:00then you're 18, at p.m. >> former arizona congresswoman gabrielle giffords and her husband mark -- mike kelly, as well as enter a ceo wayne lapierre, testified about gun- control legislation. this portion of the hearing is about two and a half hours.
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>> we have more than 200 people here today and hundreds more watching on our committee web cast. i expect everybody in this room to be respectful of the senators and the witnesses speaking about this very serious subject. i do not want applause for or against any position. the capitol police have been notified to remove any audience
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interference in an effort to have orderly conduct for that. that is a warning i give the many hearings. we will hear a lot of perspective on gun violence. i will give opening statements. but we have a former member of congress here, gaby giffords who will give a brief message and believed and captain kelly, thank you for your help in bringing your wife here. ms. giffords - >> ok. thank you for inviting me here today. this is an important conversation for our children,
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for our communities, for democrats and republicans. speaking is difficult but i need to say something important. violence is a big problem. too many children are dying too many children. we must do something. it will be hard but the time is now. you must act. be bold, be courageous, americans are counting on you.
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thank you. >> captain kelly, do you want to help? we will give you a few moments.
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>> we will return to the hearing. i think former congressman giffords and her husband. we will be calling up the witnesses shortly. senator grassley and i will give our opening statements. on december 14, america's part was brokered 120 -- was broken when 20 young children and dedicated educators were murdered. this is the first judiciary committee in of the 113th congress. i want everybody here to join the discussion as part of a collective effort to find solutions to help insure that no family, no school, no community ever has to endorse such agree this tragedy again.
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we have to come together today as americans seeking common cause. i hope we can forgo sloganeering. it is too important for that. we should be here as americans. every american abhors the recent tragedies. in just the last two years, an elementary school in connecticut, a movie theater in colorado, a sacred place of worship in wisconsin, in front of a shopping mall in arizona, americans are looking to us for solutions and for action. this committee is a focal point for that process. i have introduced with having law enforcement agencies to enforce restricting gun trafficking. others want to ban ammunition clips and others have proposed modifications to the background
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check system to keep guns out of the wrong hands while not unnecessarily burdening law- abiding citizens. i am a lifelong vermonter. i know gun store owners in vermont. they follow the law. they conduct background checks to prevent getting guns to those who should not have them. they wonder why others who sell guns to not have to follow the same protective rules. i agree with these responsible business owners. if we could all agree that criminals and those adjudicated mentally ill should not buy firearms, why should we not try to plug the loopholes in the law that allows them to buy guns without background checks? it is a simple matter of common sense. if we agree the background check system is worth while, shouldn't we try to improve its content and use it so it can be more effective?
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what responsible gun owner objects to improving the background check system? when i bought firearms in vermont, i go through the background check. i would expect everybody else, too. at the outset of this hearing, i note that the second amendment is secure and will remain secure and protected. in two recent cases, the supreme court has concerned that the -- has ruled that the second amendment secures a fundamental individual right. merrick and have the right to self- defense. they have the right to have guns in their homes to protect their families. no one can take away those rights or their guns. the second man that rights are the foundation on which our discussion rest. they are not at risk. what is at risk is lives.
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lives are wrist when responsible people fail to follow laws to keep guns out of that hands of those who use them to commit murder, especially mass murders. i ask we focus our discussion on additional statutory measures to better protect our children and all americans. i say this as a parent and the grandparent. ours is a free society, and open society. we come together today to consider how to become a safer and more secure society. no one begrudges the government assistance provided to victims of mass tragedies made possible by those law we passed after the bombing in oklahoma city. the bill introduced last week against gun trafficking will soon prove helpful and i believe it will become an accepted part of our free more. it, too, is common-sense reform. it fills a hole in our law
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enforcement arsenal so that purchasers who procure weapons for criminals can be prosecuted more effectively. last thursday, the u.s. attorney for minnesota was nominated and we have two from his state on this committee. he nominated the u.s. attorney to direct the committee. we will join a good faith to strengthen our law enforcement against gun violence and to protect public safety. as a responsible governor and someone who cherishes all of our constitutional rights, as a senator who has sworn an oath to uphold those rights, as a father and grandfather, and as a former prosecutor who has seen
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the results of gun violence firsthand in graphic detail, undertake these efforts in the hope that this hearing can build consensus around common sense solutions. previous measures to close gun show loopholes or to improve the background check system have been bypassed. i hope in this new congress, further improvements will also become bipartisan. we could act together as americans. i have said what kind of measures i can propose. i will ask other senators to come forward and do as well. i will ask our witnesses what legislative proposals that support to make america safer and i think everybody here for joining in today's discussion. senator grassley? >> mr. chairman, thank you as well for this hearing. thanks to everybody here who is
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here particularly our witnesses. what happened at newtown shocked our nation. we will never forget where we were or how we reacted when he learned that 20 very young children and six adults were killed that day or if we forgot about that specific incident, you don't forget about all the tragedies that have happened recently. as a grandfather and great- grandfather, i cannot imagine how anyone would commit an evil act like that. i cannot ever begin to know what it would be like to be a relative of one of those slain children we pray for the families who continue to mourn the loss of loved ones. we pay for -- we pray for all victims of violence and guns by guns and otherwise. violent crimes and those who commit them are a plague on our society, one that has been with us for far too long. we have looked at these issues
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before but i welcome this renewed discussion. i think the need for the judiciary committee to hold hearings after new town is very clear. all over america, people were appalled by what happened to those ball marble and precious victims. we all want sensible actions that could reduce the likelihood of future crimes. we have extended a special welcome to former congresswoman giffords who was doing what a conscientious representative should do and a whole lot of us do, taking the pulse of constituents to represent them in congress. she was representing the people of her congressional district when gunmen opened fire. the shooting was a horrible tragedy of her determination to overcome her injuries, progress toward rehabilitation and
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continued contribution to society are an inspiration or at least should be to all of us. i thank her for being here today and with her husband, captain kelley. although new town and to some are terrible tragedies, the deaths in newtown should not be used to put forward every gun control measure that has been floating around for years. the problem is greater than just guns alone and i think the chairman's speech indicates that as well. any serious discussion of the causes of gun violence must include a complex re- examination of mental health as it relates to mass shootings. society as a whole has changed as well and that statement is that it is difficult to measure but there is a lack of civility in american society and that has grown considerably in the last couple of decades. you see it here in the congress
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as well when we are partisan and do not treat each other with the respect that we ought to. there are too many video games that celebrate mass killing of innocent people, games that despite attempts at industry's self regulation, find their aunt -- find a way into the hands of children. one videogame released in november, 2009, which has sold over 22 million copies was, for foreign distribution, because the opening level depicted shooting innocent civilians in an airport security line. this game was specifically cited in a manifesto of the norway mass shooter as "part of my training simulation" carrying out his attacks. where is the artistic value of shooting innocent victims? i share of vice president joe biden's disbelief of manufacture denial that these games have no affect on real- world violence spread above all,
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we should not pass legislation that will not reduce mass killing. banning guns based on their appearance does not make sense. the 1994 assault weapon ban did not stop columbine. the justice department found the ban ineffective. scholars have indicated that refining or expanding social legislation will not cut gun violence. i also question the limitation on magazine capacity. those can be circumvented by carrying multiple guns as many killers have done. we hear that no one needs to carry larger magazines and those that hunters used to shoot deer is but an attacking criminal, and like a deer, shoots back. i do not think -- i think we may be able to work together to prevent straw purchasers from trafficking in guns. the oversight work i conducted on illegal operation fast and furious shows there are some gaps in this area of law that
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should be close. beside legislative proposals, the president recently took 23 executive actions on guns. without knowing exactly how they are worded, we cannot find fault with them. and we probably should not fall -- find fault with a lot of his actions. despite this administration's claim to be the most transparent in history, the text of these actions is still not posted on the white house website, only very brief spate months about what they do. all those executive actions could have been issued years ago or after the tucson shooting or after aurora. why only now? one statement directs the cdc to continue studies on gun violence. congress has never prohibited cdc from researching gun violence rather, congress prevented federal research to "advocate or promote gun control" which some government
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researchers have been doing under the guise of taxpayer supported science. had congress prohibited by -- gun violence research, the president could not legally directed cdc to conduct research. i was taken aback when the president cited the declaration of independence and constitution as sources of government power to restrict gun order shipwrights pri the constitution, in fact, create a limited federal government. it separates powers among branches of the federal government and preserve state power and federal power pretty framers believe the structures would adequately control the government so as to protect individual liberties but the american people disagree. they fear the constitution gave the federal money government told so much power, it could be tyrannical and violate individual rights of the bill of rights was added. each of those rights, including the second amendment, was adopted to further limit government power and protect individual rights. president obama's remarks turned the constitution on its
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head. he said "the right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to sikhs in oak creek, wisconsin." the right to assemble peacefully was denied to those in oregon and moviegoers in colorado. that fundamental set of rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness or rights that were denied to college students at virginia tech and high school students in columbine an elementary school students in newtown. this is not so. except for its prohibition on slavery, the constitution only limits actions of government, not individuals. the right to peacefully assemble protect individual rights to organize, protest, and seek to change government action. that right is trivialized and missed characterized as protecting shopping and watching movies and those constitutional rights are not the source of governmental powers to enact legislation as
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the president suggested. in fact, just the opposite. they were included in the bill of rights because throughout history, governments have wanted to shut up those who would criticize government, to suppress unpopular religions, or disarm people. the president cited constitutional protections of individual rights as the basis for expanded federal power or lives of private individuals. this is the same president who exceeded his power under the constitution to appoint recess appointments. no wonder millions of americans fear the president might take executive action and congress may enact legislation that could lead to a tyrannical federal government. i cannot accept the president's claim that there will be politicians and special interests warning of tyrannical all-out assault on liberty, not because that is true, but because they want to gin up fear. this understandably leads many citizens to figure that their
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individual rights will be violated. that extends well beyond the second amendment. it should be a matter of deep concern to all of us. the constitution for 225 years established a government that is a servant of the people, not the master. as we consider and debate legislation arising from these tragedies, i hope we will proceed with proper understanding of the relationship that the constitution established between government power and individual liberty and i hope we will pass those bills that will actually be effective in reducing gun violence i welcome the witnesses and look forward to this hearing, thank you very much. >> i would ask that captain mark kelly and chief james johnson, liberty and i hope we will mr. carter and ms. williams appear, sit behind europe -- stand behind your chair since we're in for the panel one time.
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please raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are given is the truth, altered, and nothing but the truth, so help me god? let the record show that the witnesses have been sworn in. take your seats and i will suggest that i will call on each witness and try to keep to very strict time and call on each one to give their testimony and then we will open for questions and the usual way, alternating on both sides. our first witness is mark kelly. he is a retired astronauts and u.s. navy capt. and he recently co-founded americans for
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responsible solutions. says an advocacy group that promotes solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership. he did it with his wife, former congresswoman gabrielle giffords. capt. kelly, please go ahead, sir. >> thank yo for inviting me here today. i look forward to a constructive and constructive dialogue with your committee. i want to take the opportunity to congratulate gay's friend jeff flake as you know, our family has been immeasurably affected by gun violence. gaby's gift for speech as a distant memory. she struggles to walk. she is partially blind. a year ago, she left the job she loved, serving the people of arizona. in the past two years, we have watched her determination, spirit, and intellect, per disabilities.
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we are not here as victims. we are speaking to you today as americans. we are a lot like many of our fellow citizens following this debate about gun violence where moderates, gaby was a republican long before she was a moderate. we take the responsibilities that come with it very seriously. we walked with horror when the news breaks to yet another tragic shooting. after 20 kids and six of their teachers were gunned down in their classrooms at sandy hook elementary, we said this time must be different. something needs to be done. we are simply too reasonable americans who have said enough. on january 8 of 2011, a young man walked up to gaby at her constituent event in tucson, leveled his gun, and shot her through the head. he then turned it down the line
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and continued firing. in 15 seconds, he emptied his magazine. it contained 33 bullets and there were 33 wounds. as the shooter attended to reload, he fumbled, woman grabbed the next magazine and others restrained him. gaby was the first victim. christine taylor green, nine years old, born on 9/11 of 2001, was shot with the 13th bullet or after. others followed. the killer in the tucson shooting suffered from severe mental illness but even after being deemed unqualified for service in the army and expulsion from college, he was never reported to mental health authorities. on november 30, 2010, he walked into a sporting goods store, past the background check, and walked out with a semiautomatic handgun. he had never been legally
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adjudicated as mentally ill and even if he had, ariz., at the time, had over 121,000 records of disqualifying mental illness that it had not submitted into the system. looking back, we cannot say with certainty only if we had done this, this would never have happened. there is not just one thing that would have prevented the tucson shooting from being written into the history books. gaby is one of roughly 100,000 victims of gun violence in america each and every year. behind every victim lays a matrix of failure and inadequacy in our families, our communities, our values, in our society's approach to poverty, violence, and mental illness and yes, also in our politics and in our gun laws. one of our message is simple --
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the breadth and complexity of gun violence is great but it is not an excuse for inaction. there's another side to our story -- gaby is a gun owner and i am a gun owner and we have our firearms for the same reasons that millions of americans just like us have guns, to defend ourselves, to defend our families, for hunting, and for target shooting. we believe wholly and completely in the second amendment and that it confers upon all americans the right to own a firearm for protection, collection, and recreation. we take that right very seriously and we would never, ever give it up, just like gaby with never relinquish her gun and i would never relinquish mind. rights demand responsibility and this right does not extend to terrorists, it does not extend to criminals, and it does not extend to the mentally ill. when dangerous people get guns, we are all hon., at the movies,
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at church, conducting our everyday business, meeting with a government official and time after time after time, at school, on our campuses, and in our children's classrooms. dangerous people get dangerous guns, we are all the more vulnerable. dangerous people with weapons specifically designed to inflict maximum lethality upon others have turned every single corner of our society into places of carnage and the gross human loss. our rights are paramount but our responsibilities are serious. as a nation, we're not take responsibility for the gun rights that our founding fathers have conferred upon us. we have some ideas on how we can take responsibility. first, fixed on background checks. zero holes and hour laws making
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a mockery of the background checks in our system. congress should close the private sales loophole and the dangers people entered into that system. second, remove the limitations on collecting data and conducting scientific research on gun violence. enact a tough federal gun trafficking statute, this is really important. finally, let's have a careful and civil conversation about the lethality of fire arms we permit to be legally bought and sold in this country. gaby and i are pro-gun ownership and anti-gun violence and we believe that in this debate, congress should look not toward special interests and ideology which push us apart but towards compromise which brings us together. we believe whether you call yourself protest gun or anti- gun violence or both, that you
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can work together to pass laws that save lives. thank you. >> thank you. next witness is a research director for the independent institute as well as an associate policy analyst with the cato institute, an adjunct professor in constitutional law at denver use of -- at denver university. did they get that correct? thank you. >> thank you. to continue the theme that captain kelly so eloquently spoke about, gun rights and gun control do not have to be a culture war enemies. proper early conceived, they can work together and reinforce each other. it is important to recognize that the second amendment is not absolute any more than the
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first amendment is brit is certainly has an absolute core that cannot be violated under any circumstances but that does not prohibit all firearms controls. >> excuse me, all the statements will be put in the record in full so we can keep close to the time. >> thank you, i will keep very close to the time. likewise, gun-control does not violate the second amendment if it is constructed so does not violate the rights of law- abiding citizens and they actually do something constructive, significant, and affected to protect law-abiding citizens. captain kelly talked-about the failure of the matrix. i 20 -- i testified 25 years ago before this committee about one thing that turned out to be part of that matrix of failure and that was the ban on so- called assault weapons. i warned during that testimony then that it was based not on the function of guns or how fast they fired or how powerful they were bought on superficial, cosmetic
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characteristics and accessories. as part of a compromise that eventually led to that bill being mistakenly passed by congress, the bill had a 10- year sunset and a requirement that the the part of justice supervised a study of the effectiveness of that law. that study -- the people to carry about -- carry out that study were chosen by janet reno at the department of justice and they concluded that the law had done nothing. it did not save lives. it had did not reduce the number of bullets fired in crimes. it had been a failure. to some minor degree, it switched the type of guns used in crimes so you had a gun with one name instead of another name but it did not reduce crime overall. indeed, it was a dangerous bill in the sense that so much political attention was distracted by the focus on this
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that it took public attention away from debate on measures that might have been more constructive and life-saving. today, police and law abiding citizens to semiautomatic handguns and rifles such as the ar-15 for the same reason, they are also a choice to defend. these are only meant for mass murder and that would libel law abiding citizens. they do not choose his guns for hunting or collecting but the purpose for which police of is a carry firearms, for all lawful defense of self and others. great britain shows the perils of mass gun confiscation that some people have proposed. as a hired violent crime rate and the united states and especially high rate of home invasion burglaries. congress has repeatedly out log gun registration because of the actor recognition that another country gun registration has
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been used for confiscation. since 1941, 1986, 1993 congressional statutes are one way the gun rights can be protected against future abuses. unfortunately, the bill's about universal background checks that have been proposed in recent congresses with the support of new york city mayor michael bloomberg have often had provisions and then for gun registration and many other violations of the civil liberties of law-abiding persons such as allowing gun bans for people accused but acquitted of drug crimes. universal background checks should be available. it was a wise move by president obama in his january 16 press conference to begin changes in federal drug -- regulations to allow the private sellers to access the background check system v licensed firearm dealers. many people would take
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advantage of that and i commend them but mandating universal checks can only be enforceable if there is universal gun registration and we know that universal gun registration in every country in the world where it has existed has been a serious peril to gun ownership. universal gun registration was imposed by canada in 1995 and was later repealed in 2012 by the canadian parliament because it was such a fiasco. if we want to save lives right now, there is only one thing that will stop the next copycat killer in the lawful armed self-defense and the schools not only by armed guards but also by teachers. utah provides the successful model. there, a teacher who has a permit to carry every background check and safety training class everywhere else in the state is not prohibited from carrying at the school. gun prohibition lobbies, the
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balkans a fantastic scenarios about the harm is that these would cause that teachers would shoot each other or threaten students or the students will steal the guns. they have had this practice in utah and many years and there has never been a single problem. we have never had an attack on a utah school. want to save lives, armed defense in schools is the media and best choice while other constructive solutions may take longer to have any effect, thank you. >> thank you very much. chief james johnson is the police chief of the baltimore county police department. he started his career as a police cadet at the age of 80. has more than 30 years of experience with the department. he is also the chair of the national law enforcement partnership to prevent the violence and represents nine national law enforcement organizations. chief, thank you for taking the
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time to be here, please go ahead, sir. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify. i am here on behalf of the national law enforcement partnership to prevent gun violence. >> your microphone on? >> yes, it is. i am here on behalf of the national law enforcement partnership to prevent gun violence. it aligns the nation's law enforcement leadership organizations concerned about the unacceptable level of gun violence in the united states. we mourn loss of gun violence victims including the 20 children and six adults in newtown whose lives were cut short by an individual armed with firepower originally designed for combat. more than 30 homicides occur in america each day, 2000 children, and six adults and newtown are among those individuals.
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"18 and under die from gun- related violence every year. in 2011 for the first time in 14 years, fire arms was a leading cause of death for police officers killed in a line of duty. in one week period, in 2011, the police executive research forum found that a gun crime in six cities would cost more than $38 million. the year 2010, the cost in the entire country was more than $57 billion trade we urgently need congress to address the rising epidemic of gun violence in this nation. and for some leaders support the president paz comprehensive approach which includes enhancing safety and educational institutions and addresses mental health issues. on behalf of my colleagues across the nation, i am here today to tell you that we are long overdue in strengthening our nation's gun laws. doing so must be a priority for
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congress. organizations in the national law enforcement partnership to prevent gun violence are urgently calling on you to require background checks for all firearms purchases, to insure that records are in a system and they are complete and limit high capacity ammunition devices for 10 rounds. seven of our nine groups including the largest among us also support senator feinstein's assault weapons ban legislation. federal law prohibits dangerous individuals such as convicted felons and those with mental health this qualifiers for possessing firearms. background checks are required on dealers, no check is required for private sales such as those for online or print ads or gun shows. is a major problem. from november, 2011-november, 2012, an estimated 16.6 million
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transactions occurred without a background check. this occurs for private individuals rather than licensed gun dealers. it allows 40 percent of those requiring guns to bypass checks, it is like allowing 40% of passengers to board a plan without going through security. would we do this? last october in brookfield, wisconsin, seven women were shot by present -- by a prohibited purchaser was under a restraining order. the shooter answered an online ad was able to buy a gun without a check of very quickly. had the sale been required to have a check, the tragedy could have been prevented. background checks work. they stop nearly 2 million prohibited purchasers between 1994-2009. we already have a national background check system in place. therefore extending the
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background check to all purchases can easily be implemented and it should be without delay. states cannot do it alone. interstate firearms trafficking is a rampant problem and it must be addressed federally. according to atf, 2009, 30% of guns recovered had -- at crime scenes crossed state lines. maryland recovered nearly 2000 last year from outside the state. in 20007 massacre at virginia tech is a great example of a prepared to purchase are slipping through the cracks due to thenix branch checks. the ban on high-capacity magazines must be reinstated. like assault weapons, high- capacity magazines are not used for hunting. they do not belong in our homes and a recovery of our community. banning these magazines will limit the number of rounds a shooter can discharge before he
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had to reload. reloading can provide a window to escape an offer cover or concealment or attacked the adversary. to take down the shooter -- in 1998, after the ban was enacted, the percentage of firearms of large capacity magazines decrease to and continued to drop until it hit a low of 9% of the weapons recovered. in 2004, the year the ban expired, it hit a high of 20% in 2010. i have been in law enforcement for nearly 35 years and i have seen an explosion of firepower since the assault weapons ban expired. it is common to find many showcasing that crime scenes when you investigate. victims are being riddled with multiple gunshots. the common-sense measures we call for will not infringe on the second amendment rights but
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will keep guns out of the dangers hands of people who are out there to commit danger in our society and excessive power -- firepower out of our communities. generations of americans including our youngest are depending on you to ensure that they will grow up and fulfill their roles in the great human experience. none of us can fail them and i urge you to follow the will of the american public on this issue and stand with law enforcement when these common- sense public safety measures. thank you. >> thank you, chief. our next witness is gail trotter, the co-founder of her law firm here in washington. she is also a senior in an independent women's forum. good to have you here, go ahead, please. >> chairman lady gaga record number grassley, and members of this committee, thank you for
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inviting me to appear before you today. we all want a safer society. we differ on how to make our society safer. we differ on whether some proposals will actually increase public safety. i urge you to reject any actions that will fail to make americans safer. in particular, are women the most i would like to begin with the compelling story of sara mckinley. she was home alone with her baby, she called 911 when two violent intruders began to break down her front door. these men are forcing their way into our home to steal the prescription medication of her recently deceased husband. before police could arrive, while she was still on the phone with 911, these violent intruder broke down her door one of the man had a foot long hunting knife. the intruder forced their way
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into that her home, she fired her weapon. she fatally wounded one of the violent attackers. the other fled. later, she explained that it was either going to beat him or my son. it was not going to be my son. guns make women safer. over 90% of violent crimes occur without a firearm which makes guns the great equalizer for women. the vast majority of violent criminals use their size and their physical strength to prey on women who are at a severe disadvantage. in a violent confrontation, bonds reversed the balance of power. an armed woman does not need superior strength or the proximity of a hand-to-hand struggle. concealed carry laws reverse that balance of power even before a violent confrontation occurs.
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for a would-be criminal, but carry laws but reduce the risk of committing a crime. this indirectly benefits even those who do not carry. research shows that in jurisdictions with concealed carry laws, women are less likely to be raped or murdered than they are in states with more restrictions on gun ownership. armed security works. brave men and women stand guard over capitol hill, including this building where we are now. armed guards protect high- profile individuals including prominent gun-control advocates, some of whom also rely on personal gun permits. while armed security works, gun bans do not anti-gun legislation keep guns away from the same and the law-abiding but not criminals. no sober minded person would
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advocate a gun ban instead of armed security to protect banks, airports, or government buildings. we need sensible enforcement of laws that are already on the books. currently, we have thousands, thousands of under-enforced or selectively enforce gun laws and we failed to prosecute serious gun violations and impose meaningful, consistent penalties for gun felonies involving firearms. instead of self-defeating gestures, we should address the gun violence based on what works. guns make women safer. the supreme court has recognized that lawful self- defense is east -- is an essential component of the second amendment guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms. for women, the ability to arm ourselves for our protection is even more consequential than for men.
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because guns are the great equalizer in a violent confrontation. as a result, we protect women by safeguarding our second amendment rights. every woman deserves a fighting chance. thank you. >> excuse me, thank you very much. our last witness is wayne la peirre of the national rifle association. i believe you have been there since 1970? >> that is correct. >> please go ahead. >> thank you, mr. chairman and members of the committee. there are more than 4.5 million moms and dads and sons and daughters -- >> press that white button. >> thank you. it is an honor to be here today
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on behalf of the more than 4.5 million moms and dads and sons and daughters in every state across our nation will make up the national rifle association of america. there are 4.5 million active members of the nra and they are joined by tens of millions of supporters throughout the country. it is on behalf of those millions of decent, hard- working, law-abiding citizens that i am here today to give voice to their concerns. the title of today's hearing is what should america do about gun violence?" we believe the answer is to be honest about what works and honest about what does not work. teaching safe and responsible gun ownership works and the nra has a long and proud history of doing exactly that our child safety program has taught 25 million young people that if they see a gun, they should do four things -- stop, don't touch it, leave the area, and call an adult.
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as a result of this and other private-sector programs, fatal fire arms accidents are apples level in 100 years. the nra has over 80,000 certified instructors to teach our military personnel, law enforcement officers, and hundreds of thousands other american men and women how to safely use firearms. do more and spend more than anyone else on teaching safe and responsible gun ownership. there is nothing more precious than our children and we have no more sacred duty than to protect our children and to keep them safe. that is why we ask former congressman and undersecretary of the homeland security to bring in every expert to develop a model shield program, one that can be individually tailored to make our schools as safe as possible.
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it is time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children. about one-third of our schools right now have armed security already because it works. that number is growing every day. right now, state officials, local authorities in school districts in 50 states are considering their own plans to protect children in schools. in addition, we need to enforce the thousands of gun laws already on the books. prosecuting criminals who misuse of firearms or works. unfortunately, we have seen a dramatic collapse in federal gun prosecutions in recent years. overall, in 2011, federal firearms prosecution's per- capita were down 35% from their peak in the previous administration. that means violent felons, a violent gang members and drug dealers with guns and the
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mentally ill who possessed firearms are not being prosecuted. that is completely and totally unacceptable. not more than 76 -- there are more than 76,000 firearms purchases denied federally. only 62 of those were proposed for prosecution and only 46 went to court. i think we can agree that our mental health system is broken. we need to look at the full range of mental health issues, from early detection treatment, to civil commitment laws to privacy laws that needlessly prevent mental health records from being included from the national list and check system. while we're waiting for a meaningful effort to solve these pressing problems, we must respectfully, but honestly and firmly disagree with many members of the committee and
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the media on what will keep our kids safe. law-abiding gun honors will not accept the blame for the acts of of what -- gun owners will not accept blame for acts of criminals. as i said earlier, we need to be honest about what works and what does not. proposals but would only serve to burden the law-abiding have failed in the past and will fail in the future. semiautomatic firearm technology has been around for 100 years. they are the most popular guns for hunting, target shooting, self-defense. despite this fact, congress banned the manufacture and sale of hundreds of semi-automatic firearms from 1994 through 2004. independent studies, including one from the clinton justice department, approved it had no impact on lowering crime. and when it comes to background checks, let's be honest.
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they will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them. there are a lot of things that can be done and we ask you to join with us. the nra is made up of millions of americans who support what it is -- what works. the immediate protection for all, not just some, of our school children is what is needed, and swift punishment of criminals who misuse guns in fixing our mental health system. we love our families. we love our country. we believe in freedom. and we are the way -- the millions from all walks of life to take responsibility and protection as a god-given, fundamental american right. >> chief johnson, let me begin with you, sir. in my experience, many criminals are able to get guns illegally because they use straw purchases. in other words, a person with no criminal records can easily pass a background check and then goes and buys the guns and turns
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them around and gives them to criminals. there is no federal law that makes it illegal to act as a straw purchaser of firearms. last week, i introduced a bill that will strengthen federal law to combat firearms trafficking and it would specifically target straw purchasers. do you think there should be such a lot? >> the background procedures in this nation are seriously in need of modification. again, 40% of those acquiring firearms tried to do it outside the background procedure. senator, you are absolutely
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correct, many will use a straw purchaser to go in and acquire these firearms. it happens every day across america. it is a serious problem. in national law enforcement provision to prevent gun violence support your initiative to address that issue. >> thank you, chief. we also heard testimony about the safety of women and gun violence. i'm seeking immediate consideration of the violence against riyadh -- against women reauthorization act. it will be on the floor of the senate for a vote in the next couple of weeks. i did this out of concern for domestic violence victims. statistics show win in this country are killed at alarming rates -- when men in this country are killed at alarming rates by domestic abusers with guns prepare -- women in this country are killed at alarming rates by domestic users with guns. if he is able to get a gun with
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a straw purchaser, of course, he still gets it, but he will not be able to purchase a gun and a background check is conducted. that is, if he is a criminal. 38% fewer women are shot in states that require a background check before a gun is purchase. do you agree that if we want to keep firearms away from domestic abusers, who are not supposed to have them anyway, we have to have a better background check system and require a background check for every firearm purchasers? >> absolutely. i would like to stand before this group today and say, i've spent my years of chasing down violent armed robbers and every day. as a young patrol officer, most of my day was one domestic to another. statistics show that when females are killed, over 50% of the time it is a spouse or
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household member. a gun and a home where there is a history of domestic violence, statistics show that there is a 500% increase in the chance that the person will be victimized by gun violence. we introduced legislation to allow us to go out and sees the guns of domestic violence of users where it has obtained a protective order. this has been very effective. in my jurisdiction, which averages about 3500 domestic violence incidents a year, this has had a significant impact in reducing those domestic. two of the last three years, this is is it was below the 40- year homicide rate. this has helped us tremendously. >> thank you. kevin kelly company -- captain kelley, it appears that you have said that background checks would not work because
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criminals would not submit to them. i understand that, but they do not have to go through background checks because there are so many loopholes. do you agree that there is nothing that we can do to strengthen our background checks? >> i disagree. there is a lot we can do. the situation that i know best is what happened in tucson, january 8, 2011. jared loughner, the shooter in this case, when he purchased a gun, he purchased it through a
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background check. but there was a lot of evidence that could have been in the criminal background check system about impact that would have prevented him -- about him that would have prevented him from buying a gun through a background check. that is part of the problem. the other problem is, let's say, he was denied the purchase of the gun, which he purchased in november, 2010. it would have been easy for him to go to again show and purchase one without a background check. -- to go to a gun show and purchase one without a background check. there are many things that can be done. and in my opinion, and in galaviz opinion, this is one of the most important things that we must do to prevent terrorists, criminals, and the mentally ill from having access to guns. closing loopholes and requiring private sellers to require a background check to transfer a gun, for us, i cannot think of
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something that would make our country safer than doing just that. >> thank you. in 1999, you testified before the house judiciary committee, and you testified "nobody is more committed than we are and to keeping guns out of criminal hands. that is in our best interest." i assume you are still committed to that endeavor, correct? >> correct. >> and do you agree that we should prosecute and help get those criminals to get done? >> if you're talking rust from and sales, we have said they should be prosecuted -- straw man sales, we have said they should be prosecuted for years. >> you agree that we should help catch criminals who get guns? >> if they are doing a straw man sale, they should be prosecuted. absolutely. >> and you have instead of background checks at gun sales and gun shows, no background checks for anyone. statistics show that nearly 2 million convicted criminals have tried to buy firearms and were prevented.
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do you still, as you did in 1999, still support mandatory background checks at gun shows? yes or no? >> we support the national check system on dealers. we were here when one of your colleagues held the hearings in terms of who would be a dealer and who would be required to have a license. if you did it for live the good and profit, yes. if you did it for a hobby, no. >> let's make easy. i'm talking about gun shows. should we have mandatory background checks at gun shows for sales of weapons? >> if you are a dealer, that is already the law. >> that is not my question. please, i'm not trying to play games. if you could, just answer my question. >> i do not believe the way the
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lot is working now, unfortunately, that it does any good to extend the law to private sale to hottie collectors. >> you do not support background checks in all instances at gun shows? >> we do not, because the fact is, the law right now is a feel your the way it is working. you have 76,000 people that have been denied under the present law.
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only 44 were prosecuted. you are letting them go. they're walking the street. >> back in 1999, you said no loopholes anywhere for anyone. but now you do not support a background checks for all buyers of firearms? >> the system the way it is working now is a failure. this administration is not prosecuting the people they catch. 22 states are not even putting the mental records of those adjudicated incompetent into the system. if they try to buy a gun, even if you catch them, and they try to walk away, you let them. they are criminals, homicidal maniacs, can't mentally ill -- and mentally ill. we all know that, maniacs and
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the mentally insane do not abide by the law. >> my time is up. with all due respect, that is not a question i asked. nor did you answer it. >> but i think it is the answer. i honestly do. >> it is your testimony, senator grassley. >> before i ask a question, senator hatch asked if i would explain to everyone here why he left purdum he is a member of the -- why he left. he is a member of the financial committee and he has to be there for that. professor crapo compean -- professor kappel, was the 1994 assault weapons ban effective in reducing non-violence? and secondly, is there any
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reason for reenacting an assault weapons ban? >> based on the department of justice study, the answer was no. it was something that was tried with great sincerity. a lot of people thought it would be a good idea. but it did not seem to save any lives. not that the researchers could find. the revised law is just more of the same, but it suffers from the same fundamental problem. you can have a 1994 law that list some guns by name and a 2013 law that lists more guns by name, but the very fact that you are listing them by name and banning them, that is an example of how the law does not address the guns fire power their rate of fire. if there is something that makes these guns more dangerous, then legislation ought to be able to identify that in mutual terms. the present bill, like its 1994 predecessor, also has outlawed things based on various features. these are not things that have to do with internal mechanics of the gun, how fast it fires, or harpole --
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powerful the bullets are. there are things like a rifle with a forward grip. if they forward grant on the rifle helps the user stabilize it and make it more accurate, so that if you are deer hunting, the second shot is almost as accurate as the first -- or if you are target shooting. or most important, if you are engaged in lawful self-defense. that is why they are issued as standard in police cars all over the country, because they make the gun more accurate for the core purpose of the second amendment, which is lawful self- defense. >> chief johnson and professor kopel, listen while i ask each of you a question. recently, an article was written and in it, a bipartisan group of elected sheriffs and police chiefs offered a candid assessments of current legislative proposals. one chief of police stated, "i think banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is strictly a feel-good measure and will not accomplish anything." instead, they ask for options for getting mentally ill individuals treatment. chief clark in iowa added, "we identified some that are
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mentally ill. they need treatment. but we cannot access the system." chief johnson, what options do your officers have? i quoted iowa, but what options do you currently have to deal with mental illness? >> it is a major problem in america today, and in my jurisdiction. i'm here to talk about ways to stock gun violence. we know that -- to stop the gun violence. we know that banning high- capacity magazines will make our police officers savers -- safer. we have lost dozens of police officers in america do to assault weapons. and we have seen tragedy's all
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across this great nation in many cities. an off-duty police officer -- you are never off duty -- shot down by an assault weapon. it it must be addressed. >> you wrote an article last week and i would like to have that included in the record. is there a change to civil laws that could play a part in mass shootings? and what can we do to keep guns away from the mentally ill and consistent with second amendment? >> consistently, they played roles in homicide. according to the department of justice research, about one sixth of the people in state prisons for homicide are mentally ill. if you look at these mass murders where suicidal people try to end their lives in the most infamous way possible, in tucson, virginia tech, newtown, aurora, you have a strong threat of mental illness running through debt.
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and certainly, approving the background check, the data about mental health adjudication, not just a psychiatrist recommendation, but what do process and the constitution require, which is an adjudication, a fair decision by a decision maker. getting those things into the background check is something that congress started working on after virginia tech, and there's more progress to be made. it is not just a matter of checks. even with the most ideal checking system in the world, you have to imagine that they could not get a gun anywhere else. item lanza did not have a background check. he sold the guns after murdering his mother. the long term solution -- he took the gun after murdering
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his mother. the long-term solution is addressing the question of how they are on the streets in the first place. laws were changed decades ago because they were sometimes abused, but i think we can move back to a more sensible position that strongly deals with the due process rights, but also get people off the streets. it will cost money at the state level, but greatly saved in the long term through reduced incarceration costs for crimes. >> your testimony discussed the need for women to be able to defend themselves and their families. the law currently permits the lawful possession of semiautomatic rifles such as
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the ar-15. can you tell me why you believe a semiautomatic rifle such as the our 15 has taught you as a weapon of self-defense? and as banning guns -- such as the ar-15 house of value as a weapon of self- defense? and does bening does affect a woman's ability to defend herself? >> the guns are accurate. they are light and easy to hold purvey -- and most importantly, their parents. an assault weapon in the hand of a young woman defending her babies at her home becomes a defense weapon. and a peace of mind that she has as she is facing multiple intruders into her home with her children screaming into the background, the peace of mind she house knowing that she has a scary look dindane -- the peace of mind she house knowing she has a scary looking gun, that helps her to defend herself. if you banned these women's, you are putting women at a great disadvantage, more so -- if you banned these weapons, you are pretty women had a great disadvantage, more so than men. and these are not criminals.
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they are young women and they're not used to violent confrontation. i speak on behalf of millions of american women across the country who urge you to defend our second amendment right to choose to defend ourselves. >> thank you. >> thank you for holding this hearing. i want to thank everybody for being here, even you, mr. lapierre. we tang gold -- we can go, what was it, 18 years ago? you are looking pretty good [laughter] i would like to add something to the record.
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page 44 of the department of justice report of assault weapons as a percentage of gun traces. it shows a 70% decline from 1992-'93 through 2001-02. >> no objection. >> thank you. chief johnston, i would like to talk with you. i'm gary grateful for the support of your organization of the major -- i am very grateful for the support of your organization, the major chiefs. as was the trauma surgeons to see what these guns do in tearing apart bodies. i have become very concerned as i looked at the bill before in 1993, at the technological improvement in these weapons over these years. one of the things we have tried
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to do in this new bill is prevent that from happening in the future. in looking at the ar-15 magazine on a device, which is legal, called a slide fire, i note that with practice, a shooter may control his rate of fire from 400 rounds to 800 rounds per minute, or shoot two, three, or four rounds at a time and just as easily fire single shots. it apparently is versatile. it is easy to use, but has tremendous velocity and tremendous killing power. and i suspect my tears young bodies apart. -- i suspect, terry young bodies apart. and i suspect initially that the suspect's mother in new town gave this gun to her son. is that correct?
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>> these guns were accessible in the home of the shooter. it is a major problem, security of weapons. in my jurisdiction, two school shootings. safety and security of weapons would have made different in that case. senator i applaud you for including the safety and security measure in your bill. >> thank you. this is such a hard debate. people how such fixed positions. police, i think, see killings as they are. many people do not. in a sense, the st. speak about this issue. -- the streets speak about this
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issue. these guns fall into the hands of the wrong people. it is my understanding that mrs. lanza's son, the shooter in this case, have no mental health record. is that correct? >> it is my understanding that no record exists. it is my understanding that there was ample evidence, though, amongst those close to him that there was a serious problem. >> which is something i think we need to tackle today. mental health laws are usually the preserve of the state and local government. they provide this of the -- the facilities.
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do you have any suggestions with respect to anything we might be able to do to improve mental health laws nationally, which might catch people who are a danger to themselves or others in this area? >> this is a major problem for law enforcement. citizens, police officers, doctors, parents can petition for an emergency evaluation when they see an individual is a danger to themselves or others. it is important that we all do this. it is a tough decision, but sometimes you have to make it against your own son. it can affect their entire life, but it has to be done. the improvement and is to be made is that we can have this information entered instantly into a data system in the event that an individual tries to go out within 24 hours and get a
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gun. someone in wisconsin went into a salon to shoot his life. he wanted a gun fast. he was caught, emotional, out of control. and he wanted to get it done fast. the way you do that is you reach out outside the established a background check requirements and acquire it. that gun could have been prevented from getting into the hands of a person who will carry that out in in high -- in a high emotional stage. this is really important. >> we have millions of big clips. the aura of shooter used a 100- round drum. fortunately, is jammed, or it would have killed more people. i think people believe that we can have guards at schools. i am well aware that columbine there was a deputy sheriff who was armed, and actually took a shot, but could not hit the shooter there. the question comes, what do you
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do about the morals? what do you do about the movie theaters? what do you do about businesses? we cannot have a totally on society. -- armed society. that is my feeling, about the need to say there are certain categories of guns. we actually exempt over 2000 specific weapons by make and model name and then ran about 158 assault weapons and go to a one characteristic test. you have looked at this bill. do you believe it will be effective? >> yes, ma'am, i do. i believe that addressing all of the issues holistic lead in the president's plan, as well as a comprehensive, universal background check procedure, banning high-capacity magazines, banning assault weapons, collectively together will create a system. the best way to stop a bad guy from getting a gun in the first place is a good background check. >> thank you. >> as senator grassley noted,
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senator hatch has to be gone. i will recognize him when he comes back. we will go in seniority. i will go to senator sessions. all members can put statements in the record by the close of business today. centre sessions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. daud smith, the better part of our career, i guess, prosecuting cases as a u.s. attorney, and during that high -- that time i gave emphasis to the gun violations. we were one of the top prosecuting districts in the country. in the latest university of syracuse report, they list my district, the southern district of alabama as number one in the nation today in prosecutions of gun violations. this is what the university of syracuse study said, however, in its lead comment. weapons prosecution's declined
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to the lowest level in a decade the latest available data from the justice department shows that during january, 2011, the government reported 484 new weapons prosecutions. this is the lowest level to which prosecutions federally have fallen this january -- since january, 2001, at the time that president bush assumed office. they go on to note some of the declines in various categories. first and foremost, i would say to you, as someone who has personally tried a lot of these cases before a jury, written appellate briefs on these cases, that these are the bread and butter criminal cases, felons in possession of a firearm, and carrying a firearm during a crime, both of which are serious offenses. carrying a client -- a firearm during a crime during violent or other serious crimes is a mandatory five-year sentence without parole.
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those prosecutions have declined, unfortunately, under president obama's presidency. does it concern you, chief, that federal prosecutions per month in 2011 compared to those in 2010, the number of filings went down 7.9% and were down 28.8% from 2006 in federal court. does that concern you? >> i can tell you that in the baltimore police department -- >> i'm asking if those numbers concern you. >> no, because you are not including local prosecutions. i cannot stand here and tell you of a single case in baltimore county where a gun was involved that was not prosecuted. >> are we trying to pass a state or federal law today?
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it is a federal law we are trying to enforce. and with regard to the crimes of carrying a court -- a firearm during the violence or drug trafficking offense, those prosecutions declined. i would say that, first, we need to make sure we are doing our job. i would also note that although crime is a very important matter, we should never lose our emphasis on bringing down crime. the murder rate in america today is half what it was in 1993. we have made progress on that. and we can continue to drive those numbers down. it is not as if we have an unusual surge in violent crime in america. with regard to background checks and straw purchases,
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let's be frank. straw purchases are a problem and should be prosecuted. i have prosecuted those cases before on a number of occasions. i have prosecuted gun dealers who fail to keep records as required by the law. but the number of defendants charged under the 18usc926 regarding the lawfulness of a transfer have declined from 459 in 2004 to 218 in 2010. that is about a 52% decline under this administration is leadership. i would say to you, mathematically speaking, violence in america is impacted mostly when you are in forcing
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these bread-and-butter violations -- enforcing these bread and butter violations that are proven to work. i think everybody supports these strong laws. that is where the rubber meets the road. that is where you really begin to impact crime. if you can intimidate -- and i believe the word is getting out. it did in our district. if you carry a gun in a crime, a drug dealing offense, you can be prosecuted in federal court, given five years in jail without parole.
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we saw a decline in the violence rate and the number of drug dealers and criminals carrying guns. but you have to prosecute those cases. mr. lapierre compaq -- mr. lapierre, it does appear that the straw purchase prohibition that is out there, that prohibition seems to me to be legitimate. and i support -- and you said you support the prosecutions of it. but if we expand the number of people covered, and we do not have any prosecutions -- i believe you said there were only 44. that is the weakness in the system. >> senator, there needs to be a change in the culture of prosecution at the entire
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federal level. it is a disgrace. we could dramatically cut crimes with guns and save lives all over this country if we were to start enforcing the 9000 federal laws we have on the books. i'm talking about drug dealers with guns, gangs with guns, felons with guns. the numbers are shocking. in chicago, one of the worst areas in the country for a gun violence by criminals cannot -- for gun violence by criminals, it is 89 in 90. in the entire united states, 62 people prosecuted under all of the federal gun laws. in the project to clean of richmond years ago, they did 350 cases in richmond. if you want to stop crime, interdict the violent criminals. get them off the street. >> richmond was a great model. i would call on president obama to call in the attorney general eric holder and ask him why the prosecution's have dropped
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dramatically across all categories of federal gun laws, and he should call in the u.s. attorney's and tell them to look at the numbers and get them up and emphasize these prosecutions. >> senator schumer. >> first, let me apologize to the witnesses. we have a finance committee meeting on reconciliation, which probably affects our police chief anyway, so i had to be there. i want to thank you, chairman leahy, for organizing this important hearing. i want to thank the witnesses, particularly gabrielle -- , -- particulate congresswoman giffords and your husband, mark kelly. by being here instead of cursing the darkness you are lighting a candle. thank you. i do believe that we have a chance to do something reasonable in the aftermath of the sandy hook tragedy.
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but when we discuss ways to stop violence, guns must be included in that discussion. i heard ranking member grassley say we must go beyond guns. that is true. but we must include guns as well not including guns when discussing mass killings is like not including cigarettes when discussing one cancer. -- lung cancer. but the same time, i agree. we cannot play the usual some zero political game on guns, or the in -- some-0 political game on guns, or the moment will pass us by . us zero sum game -- we cannot play the same zero sum game on guns, or the moment will pass us by. it is now settled law that america --
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the american government will never take away america's guns. americans need not to accept this provision, but endorse it. you cannot argue for an expansive reading of amendments like the first, fourth, and faith, but see the second amendment to the panel of saying it only affects militias. at the same time, those on the pro-gun side must recognize that no amendment is absolute. the first amendment protects freedom of speech. it is hollow. are you still cannot falsely shouts fire in a crowded theater. the second amendment has sensible limits, too. my colleagues have offered a range of impressive and
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thoughtful proposals on the topic of gun violence. chairman leia he has introduced a bill on trafficking. senator feinstein has introduced one of assault weapons. center bluhm bol on ammunition. for the last several years -- center limon bol on ammunition. for the last several years, my focus has been on gun ownership and background checks. universal background checks is a proven, effective step we can take to reduce gun violence. and i believe it has a good chance of passing. federally licensed firearms dealers have been required to conduct background checks on prospective gun purchasers since we passed the brady bill. we have seen that they work. since 1999, the federal background check system has blocked 1.7 million prohibited purchasers from buying firearms at federally licensed dealers. yes, we should prosecute them. but the number one goal is to prevent a felon from getting a gun in the first place. that is what this did 1.7
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million times. the current system works well. but there are some glaring holes. first, not all gun sales are covered by a background check. the problem, sometimes referred to as the gun show loophole companies that a private seller could set up a tent at a gun show or somewhere else and not have to conduct a background check on its purchasers. 48% of gun sales are made without a background check. you are a felon, a gun trafficker, a mentally ill person, you know you can go to a gun show and not have any checks. of course, that is what they do. this is not fair. and also to dealers who follow the rules and conduct checks. why should someone going to a gun show have a different rules? there is no logic to it. i was the author of the brady bill, and that was something we were forced to put into the bill as a way to get the bill passed. but the last 15 years has proven it does not make sense.
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the second problem with the current system is that not all records are fed into the system. this is especially true with mental health records. 19 states have submitted to fewer than 100 mental health records to nix. i think we can get bipartisan agreement on a bill that solves these two problems by doing two things print one, it will prevent felons and the mentally ill from getting guns by requiring a background check before all purchases, and two, i will get relevant records into the system. right now as we meet here today, i'm having productive conversations with colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including a good number with high nra ratings. and i'm hopeful that we are close to having legislation we can introduce. and i would urge the nra, mr. lapierre, and other gun
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advocacy groups to work with us on this proposal. the nra supporter of our 2007 legislation that improved the background check system. i hoping they will try to do that again. it is a simple, straightforward solution, one the american people support. a recent survey by the new england journal of medicine found 90% of republicans, 74% of nra members support requiring background checks for all gun sales. i understand that because we have not introduced it i cannot ask the witness is about it. but i can tell you what it will not do. it will not create a gun registry. that is already illegal and is repeatedly illegal in our law. and it will not allow you to bar your relatives hunting rifle or share a gun at a gun range. it will include a reasonable exceptions to background checks for bonafide sales and transfers. speech u.s. sales and checks are a tactic -- speeches checks and sales are a tactic. do you agree with the logic that we should prosecute people
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who illegally tried to buy guns? but even without that, the law has done a lot of good because people who are felons or adjudicated mentally ill, millions have been stopped from buying guns and getting guidance. >> since 1994 through 2009, the record is clear. it is a fact that nearly 2 million prohibited purchases were stopped. and god only knows what they would have done with those weapons had not been for that particular law. >> we want to do both, but wouldn't we rather stop them from having a gun than after they should someone or buy a gun illegally, then arrest them and put them in jail? >> yes, sir. and you how to address the apology of how you get the gun in the first place. that is what we are trying to achieve by universal background check. i am proud to stand before you to more -- this morning to let you know
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that every member of our organization supports background checks. the >> and does it make any sense to exclude the same people who sell them in a gun shop, or others to go to a gun show and not have a background check of all? >> it is insane. it is likes that -- like letting 40% of the people just passed the tsa checkpoint at an airport. it is not an inconvenience. the record shows that nearly 92% of the individuals that tried to do begun background check out a gun shop, in a minute and a half, they are done. i cannot write a citation in a minute and a half. even with technology i cannot do it that fast. it is not inconvenient. and it is unfair to a shop owner, too. why impose more restrictions on a federally licensed dealer down on anyone else? and if you can sell a gun to
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your neighbor that you have known for 10 years, you do not know your neighbor. the only way to make sure that what you're doing is safe is a comprehensive background check. >> one final question. many police officers are avid sportsman. they enjoy shooting not in their professional official duties. the majority of gun owners, surveys show, are for gun back projects. does your experience car robbery that? >> my experience shows that every member of the nra supports a dock project. i loved to hunt. i own several guns. i love going to the range with my son who is a police officer today. >> senator gramm has graciously let senator cornyn go. please, senator cornyn. >> thank you all the witnesses
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-- thank you to all of the witnesses for being here today. particularly to congresswoman giffords for being here and speaking so forcefully. i hope this serves as a starting point for us to consider a range of ideas on this topic. anything that falls short of serious examination and discussion is window dressing. it is just symbolism over substance. i have a hard time telling my constituents in taxes that congress is looking at passing a raft of new laws when the laws we currently have on the books are so woefully and enforce. -- not enforced. i think we need to do what we
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can to address the shortcomings in mental health care, as well as background checks mechanisms we used to screen out prohibited gun buyers. we need to ask what the years of the institutionalization of the mentally ill have done for the safety of the american public. we need to ask about people who are subjected to a court order to outpatient mental health treatment. tens of millions are falling to the cracks and surely, we can agree that more needs to be done to and from -- enforce existing gun laws prevent gun prosecutions are down across the board. -- existing gun laws. the gun prosecutions are down across the board. mr. chairman, i hope we will have a follow-up hearing to ask administration witnesses to come before the panel and testify why agencies of
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government are not enforcing laws that congress has already passed. it is worth noting that five years ago, congress was asking the same questions we are asking right now. in 2008, there was an attempt made to strengthen the background check clause following the murders of virginia tech prepared -- the background check laws following the murders at virginia tech. did those laws work? just last july, it was given mixed reviews. only a handful of states have taken seriously the responsibility to share mental health records. and i'm pleased that taxes has been highlighted by the gao has outperforming other states in this area, but we have a long way to go. i think there are areas where we can come together right now, examine the nexus between gun
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crime, violence, and mental health care. i'm willing to listen to serious ideas, not just window dressing, to come up with solutions. capt. kelly, i noticed in your testimony you alluded to part of what i talked about, which is the fact that at the time in arizona their 121,000 records of disqualifying mental illness for people in arizona who had not been subjected to background checks because the state had not send that information to the federal government. could you expand on the significance? >> in the case of jared loughner, a person who shot my wife and murdered six of her constituents, he was clearly mentally ill. he was expelled from the local community college because of
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that. his parents and his school did not send him anywhere to be adjudicated or evaluated with regard to his mental illness. mr. lapierre earlier tried to make the point that criminals do not submit to the background checks. jared loughner, the tucson shooter, was an admitted drug user. he was rejected from the u.s. army because of his drug use. he was clearly mentally ill. and when he purchased the gun in november, his plan was to assassinate my wife and commit mass murder at that safeway in tucson. he was a criminal. because of his drug use and because of what he was planning on doing. but because of these gaps in the mental health system -- now, in this case, the 121,000 records, i admit, did not include a record on him. but it could have. and if it did, he would have failed that background check. obviously, in this case, he would have likely have gone to a gun show or a private seller and avoided a background check. but if we close the gun show loophole, if we require private sellers to complete a background check and we get those 121,000 records and others into the system, we will prevent gun
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crimes. that is an absolute truth. it would have happened in tucson. my wife would not be sitting in this seat. she would not have been sitting here today if we had a strong background checks. >> mr. lapierre, you talk about a laws already on the books the fact that the federal government has a poor record of enforcing laws. i fail to see out that the justice department will not in force will make the world any safer. from 2007-11, the department of justice charged 13% fewer total firearms cases. in each of the years during that span, the current administration's brought fewer firearms prosecution's than the year before. in january, 2011, only 484 prosecutions were initiated by the department of justice, the fewest number of prosecutions in 10 years. as far as 2006-10, the number
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of investigations for unlawful possession decrease 26%. during the same time friend, 76% fewer cases were referred to tabc for prosecution. of the cases the fbi referred for prosecution, just 13 cases were prosecuted. would you care to comment? >> in the shadow of everyone's noses of this building, right now, there are drug dealers and violating the law. there is all kinds of drugs being sold, trafficking young girls. and it goes on day after day. we've got to interdict these people, get them off the street before they get to the next crime scene. the fact is, the nra has been trying for 20 something years. the senator schumer went back and forth with me on "face the nation" where i asked if he
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would help get the mentally incompetent adjudicated and into the system. he said yes, but they are still not in the system. my point is, even if you turn out someone on the instant check, it is a mentally ill person " for a felon, as long as you are -- a mentally ill person or a felon, as long as you let them go, you are keeping them from getting a gun. the problem with gun laws, criminals do not cooperate with them. the mentally ill do not cooperate with them. you've got to interdict, incarcerate, get them in treatment, and do things that
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matter. you have police officers in schools, armed security in schools. but let's do the things that work. let's get serious about this. this discussion, i sit here and listen to it and my reaction is that have little to do with making the country safe and has much to do with the decades-long gun ban agenda. we do not even enforce the laws when they are on the books. the attorney general of the united states, eric holder, during the richmond program, he called it a cookie cutter approach to solving crime. he did not have a lot of enthusiasm about it. i remember 7 -- senator sessions held a hearing. the department of justice said
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that a drug dealer with a gun is a guppy and we cannot concentrate on guppies. those studies are what are ruining neighborhoods, destroying lives, and killing people. theirgot to confront behavior and take them off the street. they do not obey by all the laws that we have now. we've got to get real with what works and does not. my problem with background checks is that you are never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks. and of the law-abiding people, you will create an enormous federal theocracy -- bureaucracy, unfunded, and people have to pay the fees, pay the taxes.
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we do not even prosecute anybody right now that goes through the system we have. we will make all of those law- abiding people go through the system and then we will not prosecute any of the bad guys if they do catch one. none of it makes any sense in the real world. we have 80,000 police families in the nra. and we care about police safety. we want what works. >> i'm trying to be fair to everybody here. certainly, you have more chances to speak. >> that is the point. the criminals will not go to purchase the guns because there'll be a background check. it will stop them from original purchase. you missed that point completely. it is basic. [applause] >> there will be order. [gavel] there will be order in the committee room. >> i'm going to give you a chance. but let me say at the outset, captain kelly, thank you. thank you for bringing that wonderful, brave wife of yours today to remind us what victims suffer from buy and -- from gun violence. what a heroic figure she is and what a pillar you are to stand by her during her
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rehabilitation. we are so proud of her and of view. and i say with some regret, there should have been a hearing just like this right after your wife, one of our own, a member of congress was shot point- blank in the face at a town meeting in tucson, arizona. should have been a hearing just like this right after your wife, one of our own members of congress, was shot point-blank in the face at a town meeting in tucson, arizona. i am sorry it has taken two years to convene this hearing, but it took newtown, conn. to
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bring us to our senses and open this conversation. i hope you will extend to her our best wishes, love, and support for what she is doing today and what she has meant to all of us for this long period of time. i also want to say a word about an incident. there was a young lady from chicago, illinois, 15 years old. she attended a university prep school in chicago, an honor student, and she marched in the inaugural parade last week. i can point to one gun store, one store in illinois that accounts for more than 20% of the crimes in chicago. straw purchasers buy the gun there and they end up in the hands of criminals in the city of chicago. we have to put an end to this. i'm going to ask a question to the panelists. mr. lapierre, i ran into some of your members in illinois and they tell me, you do not get the second amendment. it is not just about hunting. it is not just about sports. it is not just about shooting targets. it is not just about defending ourselves from criminals, as ms. trotter testified. we need the ability to protect ourselves from our governments. from our government, from the police, if they knock on our doors and we need to fight back. do you agree with that point of view? 25% were sold in the surrounding towns around the city of chicago. you look over last 10 years, pulled years, the 50,000 confiscated and crimes, almost one out of 10 in chicago came to
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that city from mississippi. mississippi. why? because the background checks there, the gun dealers there are a lot easier than other places. they sold these guns in 10 in v, coming up the interstate. killing along the way. i think that we all agree that the supreme court decision said we could have reasonable limitations on the second amendment right in terms of the type of weapon and background checks of those people. it is something that we desperately need to do but we know that 40% of the sales were not going through the background checks. it is a huge problem that has created this abundance of weapons. straw purchasers, i salute the
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chairman. it is one of the worst situations in our state and in the city of chicago. i can point to one gun store in riverdale, ill., that accounts for 20% of the crime in chicago. up thestraw purchasers purchass there and wind up in the hands of criminals in chicago. we have to put an end to this. let me ask you a question. mr. pierre, here is what people in illinois tell me, that i do not get the second amendment. that it is not just about hunting or sport, not just about shooting targets and not just about defending yourself for criminals. but the need the facility to protect themselves from their government. from the government.
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>> without any doubt, if you look at what our founding fathers put it there. they lived under this tyranny of king george and wanted to make sure these three people would never be subjugated again and have to live under tyranny. i also think that what people fear today is being abandoned by their government. if a tornado, hurricane hits -- if they are going to be out there alone, the only way they are going to be protected is with a fire arm. i believe that is how relevant society is to human survival. >> believes the nra as a second amendment has to give citizens the firepower -- the fire power to fight back against the government. how you conduct your business in enforcing barack -- in enforcing
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the law? >> scary, creepy. it is not based on logic. certainly law-enforcement is well-prepared to deal with any natural or man-made disaster that will occur. i cannot relate to that kind of thinking. >> i cannot relate to that man in aurora, colo rodham to have a 100 round drum. do you think that is necessary for hunting, sports, target practice, even self-defense? >> it would not be legal in most states. the second amendment is not
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primarily about hunting what i have been talking about is what the supreme court said in the district of columbia versus heller fire arms and accessories would commonly owned by law abiding people for legitimate purposes. i am talking about what police officers carry, what citizens carry it. typically magazines. officers. >> they are not military, they're not coming to attack people, they are protecting people. citizens protect themselves the same way the police officers do. >> if you can rationalize a 100-round drum that someone can strap onto a semi-automatic weapon, as did in aurora, colorado, killing dozens of people there, saving lives only because it jammed, then you ought to object to the laws that
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have been on the books for years about machine guns. why are they not allowed under the second amendment? >> according to heller, they are not commonly used by law- abiding citizens for legitimate purposes. >> and 100 magazines are? >> thank goodness he had a piece of junk like that instead of something better where he could kill more people. >> that is what is all about? >> it is about saving lives with ordinary magazines. 100 magazines are not used by police officers or hunters. what you are talking about banning is normal magazines. >> the shooter in tucson showed up with two 33-round magazines, one of which was in his 9 millimeter. he unloaded the contents of that magazine in 15 seconds. very quickly.
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the first bullet went into gabby's head. bullet #13 went into a nine- year old girl named christina taylor green. she deserved a full life committed to enhancing those ideas. if he had a 10-round magazine -- let me back up. when he tried to reload one 33- round magazine with another, he dropped it. a woman named patricia grabbed it, and it gave bystanders time to tackle him. i contend, if that same thing happened when he was trying to reload one 10-round magazine with another, meaning he did not have access to a high- capacity magazine, and the same thing happened, christina taylor green would be alive today. i am certainly willing to give up my right on a high-capacity up my right on a high-capacity magazine to bring that young